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Psychological Theory – Cognitive Dissonance, Read To Know More

Cognitive Dissonance Every Individual Experience
Credit: thedecisionlab.com

Beliefs, actions, ideas, perceptions, and activities individuals perform affect their psychology. Almost every individual is familiar with the term cognitive dissonance. It is a term used to describe discomfort and is the most famous psychological theory. 

Various psychological theories revolve around human behaviors, social activities, beliefs, actions, and desires. Moreover, whatever individuals do becomes a part of their personality. However, when things go against their will or desire, individuals begin to feel discomfort. The feeling of guilt generated due to contraindication in behaviors, perspectives, actions, and ideas is described as Cognitive Dissonance. 

Many individuals unknowingly experience the term, and now after testing the psychology theory, it is evident that cognitive dissonance is very much alive. 

Leon Festinger was the first American social psychologist to investigate the cognitive dissonance psychology issue. Moreover, the psychologists published a book with the name A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance in 1957. After that various psychologists and researchers conduct research regarding it.  

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Self-Image And Cognitive Dissonance

Individuals have set their principles, beliefs, and ideology straight. Moreover, they intend to do things according to their principles. However, it is not always possible to follow them. Humans intend to change depending upon their surrounding environment. Furthermore, thoughts and perspectives also alter with time. 

Still, when individuals believe one thing but do something against their own rules, they feel discomfort. Moreover, in situations in which individuals experience conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behavior, they feel anxious. Anxiety and discomfort may further worsen the situation, and individuals may react in a hurtful manner. 

Similarly, an individual that thinks of himself/herself as an honest person, will feel guilty when speaking a lie. Such conditions are described with the term cognitive dissonance. Many individuals experience psychological issues due to a clash of their thoughts, words, and behaviors.

According to Peter Wehner, the psychological issue of cognitive dissonance is in the news after February 13, 2021, as it explains Republicans’ situation. 

How Does The Body Resolve The Psychology Term?

Individuals want to get rid of the feeling of discomfort or guilt they experience due to cognitive dissonance. Furthermore, individuals tend to restore cognitive-consonance, and for that, they desire to resolve their guilt or negative feelings. 

There are various ways by which individuals resolve their negative feelings for their mental peace. Moreover, they try to balance their emotions and actions by justifying themselves. 

For instance, consider an individual that says smoking leads to cancer but smokes himself. Such individuals will try to generate peace of mind by saying that there is little or no evidence to prove that smoking leads to cancer. 

Similarly, other individuals either modify their principles or change their statements that conflict. Moreover, some might try to change their habits. Furthermore, sometimes individuals react according to their principles rather than emotions.  

Another example of cognitive dissonance psychology issues is that a woman reads a statement suggesting that her favorite actor or politician has done something immoral. The woman may justify her support by saying that the charges are the invention of his enemies. However, there is an equal possibility that the supporter will reconsider supporting her favorite actor. 

Is Their A Psychological Explanation For Cognitive Dissonance In Academic Psychology?

Scientific research and academic psychology indicate that the theory is valid and the cognitive dissonance condition occurs to multiple individuals. 

A recent study analyzed 43 studies regarding discomfort feeling due to conflict of behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, and ideas. The study’s data collection consists of data of almost 2200 participants. The analysis procedure utilized a specific dissonance-inducing paradigm. 

The analysts belong to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Maya Enisman. In the analysis psychological behavior of people after making a difficult decision was noted. 

Enisman et al. note in their description of cognitive dissonance that individuals feel a need to alter their attitude to accommodate the behavior. If individuals have committed a mistake or are unsatisfied with their past-behavior then they will try to change their attitude in the future. 

Study Investigation Procedure

Individuals were given various situations and options to choose from. The decision to select one of the two of your favorites causes difficulty and discomfort in individuals. However, selecting one with a high rating and one with a low rating is not a difficult decision to make. Thus, it does not cause dissonance. 

Furthermore, the findings of the research indicate that people who were given a free hand to choose whatever choice they like exhibit fewer behavioral changes. 

Research suggests individuals let their principles drive them and not the other way around. Furthermore, individuals develop cognitive dissonance when they cannot undo their actions or choices and regret them.

The Better Way To Improve Personality

Psychology issues generate different effects on the behaviors of individuals. However, individuals must try to maintain a positive attitude towards things and unexpected alterations. 

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Moreover, it is vital to accept your choices. Individuals choose neck of time and must try to accept it as part of life, good or bad. There is nothing to regret if you make a mistake. The thing individuals need to do is to learn the lesson from it and try to avoid making the same mistake over and over again. 

Accepting your flaws makes you stronger and enables you to modify your personality by overcoming them. The basis of cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort and regret. Thus, when individuals accept themselves as they are, they will be able to improve their behavior. Furthermore, they will be able to forgive themselves, and it is vital to move on in life. 

It is essential to understand that whatever choices that individuals were forced to make in their lives will generate a positive outcome. Everything or every choice has its positive and negative points. Looking at the negative points neglecting the positive does no good, as such individuals will always be unhappy with their choices and become victims of psychological disorders. However, accepting both the good and bad, while focusing on positive points to move forward is best. 

Cognitive dissonance is real and occurs to every other human being there is nothing about it to worry about. However, individuals need to understand their mistakes, situation, and choices and learn their lesson and move on. Regretting and being in continuous discomfort will not yield a positive outcome. Furthermore, it will lead to anxiety, lack of confidence, depression, and other psychological disorders. 

About the author

Adeena Tariq Lari

The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.

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